Comfort Coddle

What is the dish that you crave on a cold, blustery Winter morning?

Me? I like a good egg with runny yolk, creamy polenta and some spice. Give me that and I am a content woman {note to sig. other. ha!}. It is the simple things that make a world of difference to me. In that I can be rather finicky. The polenta has to be creamy but not runny. The egg soft with fully cooked whites but not crispy anywhere. And, certainly, a delicately raw yolk that separates itself in a quick stroke from the cooked white self-ramekin. 

Once those basics are mastered, then the fun and play I can begin. I cook polenta and eggs very often for all meals of the day. It is the typical, clean your fridge out on top of the cooked corn and then make it wholesome and satisfying with a fried egg. It has become that I can almost not imagine polenta without eggs. They have been a couple in my head and plate for too long and too many times!

The other day, I went to a neighborhood rustic Italian place and they had a dish of rabbit on polenta. Let me do a quick side note. Lapin, the rabbit is a meat that if on the menu, I simply cannot ignore. I love rabbit meat. And, as I just waxed, polenta is that favorite. Despite the fact that the dish combined two of my must-haves, I kept staring at the menu time for a long time in incomprehension. Something was missing, the dish just did not seem right. Damn the Egg! I blame it for my choosing quail on radicchio instead..

Anyway, now that I have gone on about the perfect consistency that turns a frown into a smile, you must want to know how to. Well, the secret for both the egg and the corn is low heat and patience! 

For the spice, here I served it with sauteed rock shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce. When the yolk runs into the sauce and you scoop it all with a big dollop of polenta, you know you are living the life! :)


Rock Shrimp in Peppery Tomato Sauce + Creamy Polenta

For the polenta:

1/2 cup corn meal, fine ground

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup warm water

1/4 cup gruyere cheese

1 T olive oil

For the shrimp sauce:

1/4 lb rock shrimp, cleaned

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup water

2 shallots, minced

handful of peas

To top: Eggs and more cheese

In a sauce pan, cook the polenta with milk, water and salt over low heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.

Add the shredded cheese and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat and fold in oil and pepper. Divide into bowls.

While the polenta cooks, in a saute pan, heat a little oil and cook the shallots until soft. Add the tomato puree, water and peas and cook covered for 5 minutes. Season with salt and lots of pepper.

Add the shrimp and cook for 7 more minutes until cooked through. 

Once the polenta has been filled into the bowls, divide sauce on top.

To fry the eggs, in a clean frying pan, drizzle a thin layer of olive oil. Heat over low flame for a minute. 

Crack the eggs into the pan. They will not sizzle due to the low heat.

Sprinkle sat on top and let them cook slow and low for 4 minutes.

Transfer to the bowls and serve immediately.